The federal and provincial governments have taken strides to encourage women to enter traditionally male-dominated fields like HVAC and construction, providing funding to organizations such as The Redwood to help women break into these industries.
It has been 2.5 years since the launch of the HVAC Staffing program, and since then Women in Trade and Technology program has received an overwhelming response from participants wanting to join the program.
We at the Women in Trades and Technology proudly shared that we are now on Cohort 6, and participants just started their journey this month. We also proudly share that we have a long waiting list of folks who want to join the program.
The Redwood HVAC staffing program is funded by the Government of Canada’s Union Training and Innovations Program or UTIP. The recruitment for HVAC staffing program takes place in summer and fall, for respective Fall and Winter intakes. The program is through George Brown College with additional intensive exam prep and working on six practical mini projects at HiMark Occupational Skills Training Centre. We at The Redwood WITT recognize that our participants face barriers and challenges, and we try to eliminate all those barriers so that participants can focus on doing the training.
We have a well-rounded wrap-around support that includes but is not limited to financial aid: we have a partnership with a child care center, gift cards for groceries to help women put food on their table while they attend training, transportation support, Peer tutoring that it is facilitated by our very own HVAC staffing graduates and Math for Trades tutoring provided by Toronto District School Board Skills Upgrading, which our participants find it very helpful, especially when taking the TSSA exam.
Women In Trade & Technology recognized that once participants complete the training and work in the field, getting a job in the trades is next to impossible without a driver’s license. Those who need it are enrolled in the driving school. We know that employers are looking to hire someone who can travel to the location, and we make sure that when our participants look for employment, they are ready.
A testimonial from our past cohort goes, “Becoming an HVAC technician means I can become financially independent. Financial independence means I can finally plan and have control over my time and future. I am so grateful for the opportunity to participate in this program; it has been a unique experience. I knew I was interested in the trades but could not access the training or education needed to advance. As a full-time single mother, being able to attend school part-time with not only the cost of the course being covered but the books, materials and transportation has been amazing”.
To the survivor of gender-based violence, this achievement and a good-paying job means economic stability and a safer and better life for themselves and their children.